function council

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS made this Freedom of Information request to Northampton Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to know the average proportion of time the elected representatives of your authority spend as part of their duties for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 on their main activities. The activities that form their duties (employment) as an elected representative are:

1 directly resolving complaints against the executive (Council Staff) of the Council by residents;
2 sitting on committee's;
3 acting for the political parties that they represent and/or ceremonial duties (i.e. all time not spent on sitting on a Committee or resolving a complaint against the executive);

The total time spent by an elected representative for a Council on these three activities should be 100 per cent of the time they spend 'working for a Council' as an elected representative.

I would additionally like to know how much in total was paid to local councillors to meet all their duties (including expenses) for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 by your authority, and how many elected representatives are (and were) represented on your authority for these years.

I would also like to know how many Complaints in total were submitted to your Council in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 for each year. I would further like to know how many of these complaints were formally considered by an elected representative for each of these years.

I would further like to know how many complaints against the Executive (Council staff) led to the elected representatives formally identifying that the Executive had acted wrongly for the years 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, and how many of these formal determinations by the elected representatives identify that there was no wrong-doing by the Executive. How many staff employed by your authority in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 ceased to be employed by your authority as a direct result of a complaint against the Executive, and the Councillors identifying this to be the case.

I would further like to know how much money the Council has paid to a complainant (i.e. victim of a Council's wrongdoing) through its own complaints system (i.e. excluding any intervention by the Local Government Ombudsman, Valuation Tribunal or similar body) in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

I would like to know how much money either in the form of local settlement or additional formal finding of maladministration causing injustice the Local Government Ombudsman has recommended that your Council pay in 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 (for each year) and if the Local Government Ombudsman's recommendations have been met in full (including any non-financial recommendations for each year)). Please detail any recommendation that has not been met in full and provide a copy of the Elected representatives decision. Please additionally identify if these costs were met directly by Council Tax Payers or the Council's insurers (excluding self insurance by a Council)

Finally, please provide details of the financial cost of administering all your complaints systems (including FoI and DP) by the Executive for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the number of staff employed in administering complaints and resolving these (Full time equivalent staffing levels). Please also provide details of your total administrative costs for 2005/2006, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and the total number of staff employed by your authority, as well as any pay increase (including increments) made to the Council's Chief Executive (Head of Paid Service) in pounds sterling for each of these years. Please additionally identify if the Chief Executives wages included performance related payments.

If you do not have this reasonably basic management information related to complaints and/or identify that the costs of accessing the information requested will be more than £450 please state this and identify that your Authority does not have either a functioning or accountable complaints system, and does not maintain any basic management information related to this issue.

If you have a complaints system not fit for purpose please identify which political party currently controls your Council, and if this political party has appointed the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer through its control of the Council (with date of their formal appointment). Please name the current Electoral Registration and Returning Officer, and identify if they are also Head of Paid Service, and Clerk to your Authority. Please additionally provide any documentation maintained by your Local Authorities Head of Paid Service identifying that they personally do not believe it to be appropriate for your Council to have a complaints system that is fit for purpose. This documentation should be in existence due to the provisions of s4 of the Local Government Act 1989.

Yours faithfully

Stuart HARDWICKE CARRUTHERS

David Taylor left an annotation ()

As of 1st September 2008 this request has not been received by Northampton Borough Council.

There must either be a problem with the software on this site or the address used to forward requests to the Council is invalid.

The Correct email address for all access to information requests made to Northampton Borough Council, including FOI, is....

requests@northampton.gov.uk

Of course requests can be made to anyone working for the Council however it is useful if such requests included the reference to FOI. This will avoid any possible confusion as to the mannor to which you require your request to be processed (e.g. as a general enquiry).

I must advise that until such a time as the request is received the 20 working days cannot begin and therefore the 23rd September is not a date this Council can be held accountable to.

I have no problem responding to requests made via this website as all information disclosed is by its very nature in the public interest however I cannot respond to a request that has not been recieved.

Many thanks, I look forward to receiving your request in due course.

David Taylor
Freedom of Information Officer

Sent request to Northampton Borough Council again.

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Just a note to say that the request was sent both times to requests@northampton.gov.uk, and we have emailed David with technical delivery details to try and resolve the problem. It probably got stuck in Northampton Borough Council's antispam system.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS left an annotation ()

A number of Council's appear to be using 'call centres' under collective control.. and this might also be causing problems

David Taylor left an annotation ()

I have the result from our IT investigation.

The MS exchange server has been blocking the emails under the whitelist. These requests are irretrievable.

The address whatdotheyknow.com has now been added to our allow list. Can you please resend the requests and I will do my best to honour the original response dates of 25th September.

Until I receive the requests I am unable to ascertain why the MS exchange server has been quarantining these emails. I also doubt this is local to NBC.

Our IT department have advised me to ask you to contact all the local authorities in your lists and ask them to add your email address to their whitelist as this server is not specific to NBC and the problem is likely to be happening across the Country.

NBC are lucky, I have caught the requests before the due date and therefore it will not appear to everyone viewing your site that we don't care about FOI.

The truth is quite the opposite. For the record, since 1st January 2005 Northampton Borough Council has responded to over 900 requests from almost 700 applicants. We have a response rate of over 98% within the 20 working days and the only decision notice issued by the Commissioner supported the Council's stance that everything had been disclosed.

I hope that everyone can see that by proactively trying to resolve the issue on behalf of everyone I have done my bit to improve the whole site.

David Taylor

Sent request to Northampton Borough Council again.

Stuart Hardwicke CARRUTHERS left an annotation ()

This appears to me to be a problem with the Council's IT policy, and not ensuring its conformance with other Council functions. It is surely for the Council itself (as the service provider) to ensure that its systems and services are compliant with any legislative requirements. The Council's failure should be immaterial to the user.

Sent request to Northampton Borough Council again.

Sent request to Northampton Borough Council again.

Judy Goodman, Northampton Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Hardwicke Carruthers

Firstly please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your
request. Attached is the Council's response to your request for
information dated 23rd August 2008.

Regards
Judy Goodman
Information Officer
Northampton Borough Council
Legal & Democratic Services
The Guildhall
St Giles Street
Northampton, NN1 1DE
Tel No. 01604 837409

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Northampton Borough Council, The Guildhall, Northampton, United Kingdom,
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